Today is Valentine’s Day, and we’d like to take this opportunity to write our valentine to the free legal information projects we love. We’ve talked about all of these projects before, but on this day that celebrates love, it seems a perfect time to praise them again.
Law.gov and Public.Resource.Org
All who love free legal information as much as we do, owe a great deal of gratitude to Carl Malamud of public.resource.org and to the many people working with him on the Law.gov movement. Even before creating the Law.gov project, Malamud had begun gathering free cases and codes and getting them online in a free public archive. We first blogged about his work back in September of 2007, but he has been working to make public domain resources truly public for years.
Over the last couple of years, he has spearheaded a movement to get the federal government to put all primary legal materials online in bulk on a suggested domain name of law.gov, following the similar federal project known as data.gov which contains bulk data from a variety of government resources. With funding from Google as part of their 10^100 project and the support of many including others listed here, we look forward to the day soon that all primary legal materials are truly free and available to all.
The Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School
Our friends in Ithaca have been working on free law a very long time. Founded in 1992 by Tom Bruce and Peter Martin, they had one of the earliest web servers on the internet. We at Justia have been fortunate over the last several years to get to know Tom and the current team at the LII very well, and to work with them on a number of free legal information projects. These people are passionate about the law and are formidable allies in the ongoing battle to free primary legal materials. They have some interesting projects coming down the pipe that will push the availability of legal materials even further. Valentine’s Day shout outs to all our friends there, but especially Tom, Sara, Daniel, Brian and Wayne who we’ve had the pleasure of working with directly.
Jerry Goldman has been working on the Oyez Project in one iteration or another since the 1980s. At Oyez.org, you can find a vast archive of oral arguments from the U.S. Supreme Court and so much more, and you don’t even have to stick to using it in a web browser. Take the Supreme Court with you with their PocketJustice app. Not content to provide an excellent resource themselves, Oyez has partnered with others, including us on various other projects including our own Supreme Court Center.
It’s not just non-profits that love free law, even giants of the tech world are involved in the free law movement we love so much. In late 2009, Google put a ton of free US case law online as a part of Google Scholar. A year later, Google and the US Patent Office together made bulk US patent data available online. And, as I mentioned above, Google supported the Law.gov movement with a grant of $2 Million Dollars.
Google also supports free law in subtle ways with their APIs and services. Our Lawyer Directory and the directories of our partners (including Cornell and Oyez) use Google Maps and Google Location APIs to help guide people to lawyers and legal services, and many organizations that are dedicated to free legal information online use Google Apps for low cost instant collaboration.
Ed Walters of Fastcase has been a very vocal supporter of Law.gov and free legal information projects. Their own Public Library of Law has been a tremendous free resource for caselaw since 2008. More recently, Fastcase has started a collaboration with public.resource.org to provide RECOP, the Report of Current Opinions, to create an ongoing free feed of ALL slip and final opinions from the appellate courts of the 50 states and the federal government on a weekly basis.
Everyone who supports Law.gov and Free Law
We’d also like to extend Justia’s Valentine’s love to all of the great supporters of the Law.gov movement, and here are a bunch of them:
Sponsors: Google; Elbaz Family Foundation; Alexander Macgilivray, Twitter; Paul Haahr, Nathan Naze, and Marcia Hoffmann; Bob Young/The Beal Fund; Mitchell Kapor Foundation; O’Reilly Foundation; Hal Verian; Dale and Nancy Dougherty; and Craig Newmark.
Hosts of Law.gov Workshops and Events: Stanford University Law School; Princeton University; Yale Law School; New York Law School; Columbia Law School; Cornell Law School; University of Colorado Law School; Duke University Law School; University of Texas School of Law; UC Berkeley and the Kapor Foundation; CALI and The Oyez Project; U.S. House of Representatives; Google; Center for American Progress; and Harvard Law School.
Co-Convenors of Law.gov: Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School; Nicholas Bramble, Yale Law School; Laura E. DeNardis, Yale Law School; Joseph Lorenzo Hall, UC Berkeley and Princeton University; S. Blair Kauffman, Yale Law School; Paul Lomio, Stanford Law School; Peter W. Martin, Cornell Law School; Paul Ohm, University of Colorado Law School; Pamela Samuelson, Berkeley Law, University of California; Tim Stanley, Justia; Tim Wu, Columbia Law School; Robert C. Berring, Jr., Berkeley Law, University of California; Tom R. Bruce, Cornell Law School; Edward W. Felten, Princeton University; Jennifer Jenkins, Duke Law School; Mark A. Lemley, Stanford Law School; Carl Malamud, Public.Resource.Org; John Mayer, Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction; Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media; Stuart Sierra, Columbia Law School; Erika V. Wayne, Stanford Law School; Harlan Yu, Princeton University; James Boyle, Duke Law School; Richard A. Danner, Duke Law School; Jerry Goldman, Northwestern University; Mitchell Kapor, Mitchell Kapor Foundation; Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School; Harry S. Martin III, Harvard Law School; Judy Meadows, State Law Library of Montana; John G. Palfrey, Harvard Law School; Stephen Schultze, Princeton University; and Christopher Wong, New York Law School.
Ok so Hug Pug is not exactly a free legal information resource, but this is a Valentine’s day article, and we love our pugs and other dogs who hang out at the Justia offices. The “puppy love” helps us get through each day with a smile on our faces. If you love pugs and other dogs as much as we do, be sure to Fan the Hug Pugs on Facebook.